Scouting Iowa State: Missouri softball looks for revenge as Cyclones visit Columbia

The Tigers look to avenge their early-season defeat to Iowa State as the Cyclones visit Columbia.

Earlier this season, No. 17 Missouri softball lost a thrilling 9-8 game to Iowa State. That loss helped the Cyclones reach 8-0, their strongest ever start to a season.

The Tigers welcome Iowa State to Columbia this weekend for two games in the Mizzou Tournament.

The Cyclones, who recently dropped out of the Top 25, are looking for statement wins to return.

The Maneater spoke to Iowa State Daily Sports’ softball writer Presley Polvere for an inside look at the Cyclones.

This interview has been edited for clarity purposes

The Maneater: Last season, Iowa State finished 11-13 and they have already surpassed that number of wins this season. Where have they improved this season to have such a turnaround?

Presley Polvere, Iowa State Daily Sports Softball Writer: I think after last season, one of the big things is that they have a lot of depth. I think that’s the big thing.

Offensively, a lot of freshmen are stepping up. For example, Milaysia Ocho is insane in all at-bats, it’s amazing.

That’s where they have been improving. They have so much depth. You could also have credited it to the fact that they’ve had so much time to prepare. They hadn’t played in over 300 days, so they’ve been playing each other.

The depth and just how much time they’ve had to prepare is where they’re getting their success from.

TM: Iowa State had their best start to a season ever, starting 8-0. What has fueled that success?

PP: I think you can really credit it to the pitching. Karlie Charles — she’s a sophomore — she’s been insane on the pitching and that really helps them offensively.

Senior Sami Williams is kind of the backbone offensively. Every game, she’s performing.

I think that leadership by her and the pitching are two big things in the games so far that have really helped them a lot.

TM: Who are some of the batters that Missouri should be worried about?

PP: Sami Williams for sure.

I would also say Milaysia [Ochoa], Carli Spelhaug, she’s a sophomore, there’s a lot, there’s a lot that have been offensively producing this season.

I would also say Alesia Ranches, she’s a sophomore as well and Mikayla Ramos, she’s the catcher.

They would be the ones that they would need to prepare for the most.

TM: Who do you expect to be pitching in these games for the Cyclones? What will she bring to the game?

PP: If I was Coach Pinkerton, I would expect Karlie Charles starting either one of those games.

I don’t know if she would specifically start, but Ellie Spelhaug will also be in there, as well. I could also see Saya Swain — she’s a freshman — starting one of those games.

I think those three will be in either one. I don’t know which one he’s gonna use yet, but I think those three for sure.

TM: Iowa State beat Missouri earlier in the season. What will the Tigers need to do in order to make sure that they don’t have the same result in these games?

PP: Just be prepared for Sami [Williams]. She really is one that seems to be the one to watch out for because she’s very versatile. She’s hitting a lot of home runs. She has a ton of RBIs this season already.

She really gets it done for the team and I think they should worry about her.

TM: The team seems to be made up mainly of underclassmen. How has that helped the team so far this season?

PP: When I talked to Coach Pinkerton at the beginning of the season, he said that 20 of them hadn’t played in a NCAA or Big 12 softball game. So none of them really had that experience, but they’ve gone up there and done very, very well.

I think it’s helped them because they know that they have other people they can go to. For example,if someone isn’t playing that hot, they have players who can get out there and score and can be good on defense.

So I think it’s been really helpful for them and I’m excited to see where it continues because it’s awesome to see that many freshmen doing that well.

They’ve just been playing themselves for 300 days, which is very good practice and everything, but they were very excited to play somebody else. I think that’s one huge thing is they were just so excited to play other people.

TM: Prediction for the Iowa State vs. Missouri games?`

PP: I could see it splitting. I could see one being Missouri and one being Iowa State.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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